Growing Up With Just and Unjust Wars: An Appreciation [Abstract]

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 11 (1997)

Michael J. Smith Michael J. Smith

After twenty years, Michael Walzer's Just and Unjust Wars continues to engage scholars in discussions of the moral realities of war. Smith provides a summary of Walzer's work, with particular emphasis on his method of moral argument. Walzer's argument focuses on moral norms or "practical" morality, but ultimately emphasizes the importance of moral judgment based on the principle of human rights rather than on utilitarian calculation. Addressing realists' critiques of Walzer, in particular David C. Hendrickson's (see below), Smith reaffirms Walzer's call for the need to constrain the realist doctrine of necessity, which argues that moral considerations should be subordinate to the security of the state. Walzer's treatment of nuclear deterrence and intervention is discussed in relation to the end of the Cold War. Smith concludes by paying tribute to Just and Unjust Wars as a continuing reminder of the human capacity for hope and the will to change our world for the better.

 

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Read More: Just War, Just War Tradition

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